The effect of 2-mercaptoethanol (2-ME) and alpha-thioglycerol (alpha TG) on proliferation and polyclonal activation of lymphocytes was studied in cultures of spleen cells from C3H mice. Inclusion in serum-free or serum-containing medium of the optimal concentration (5 x 10(-5) M) of either 2-ME or alpha TG resulted in highly significant uptake and incorporation of tritiated thymidine ([3H]TdR) into DNA and in morphological blast transformation. These phenomena were dose-dependent, with both lower and higher doses causing less marked effects. The kinetic peak of these responses was found to occur at day 3 of culture. Improved cellular viability could not explain these results, because by day 3 there was no significant difference in viability between cells cultured in the presence or absence of 2-ME. 2-ME evoked a proliferative response in cultures of congenitally athymic (nu/nu) spleen cells that exhibited a similar but lower dose-response profile compared with that of heterozygous (nu/+) littermates. Cultures of bone marrow-derived (B) lymphocytes, generated by treatment of spleen cells with rabbit antithymocyte serum and complement, incorporated [3H]TdR to a degree at least equal to that of normal spleen cell cultures. Thymus-dependent (T) cells did not support significant 2-ME, alpha TG, or Concanavalin A responses in the absence of serum. However, when cultured in 5% fetal calf serum, definite T-cell responses occurred, though always of a lower magnitude than B-cell responses in this system. When the enriched B-cell and T-cell preparations were co-cultured, a synergistic response was noted. Macrophage dependency of the 2-ME and alpha TG effect was shown to be minimal. It is likely that the greater effectiveness of alpha TG relative to 2-ME is due to differences in the chemical structure of these two thiol compounds. The advantages of utilizing 2-ME and alpha TG as probes in the study of lymphocyte activation are evaluated and their possible mechanisms of action are discussed.
Nonspecific activation of murine lymphocytes. I. Proliferation and polyclonal activation induced by 2-mercaptoethanol and alpha-thioglycerol.
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M G Goodman, W O Weigle; Nonspecific activation of murine lymphocytes. I. Proliferation and polyclonal activation induced by 2-mercaptoethanol and alpha-thioglycerol.. J Exp Med 1 March 1977; 145 (3): 473–489. doi: https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.145.3.473
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